Top Office Furniture Manufacturers Rely On E-Commerce Acquisitions To Stay Relevant Through The Pandemic
The business model for office furniture manufacturers and their contract furniture dealers must evolve as a result of the changing workplace in the wake of the pandemic. Will cubicles with high walls return to the workplace or will the WFH model shift purchasing decisions from facility managers, architects and interior designers to the employees working from home? In the short term, home offices will surely be upgraded to more ergonomic, height-adjustable desks, purchased by employees with reimbursements funded as expenses by their employers. In the long term, we are likely to see a combination of remote workforces operating from home offices, together with downsized office spaces, remodeled with more expensive workstations with high panels and socially distanced layouts, funded as capital equipment expenditures which can be depreciated over time. In the meantime, the manufacturers who had the foresight to acquire established e-commerce channels, will gain a larger share of the market. Rather than considering e-commerce the enemy to the manufacturers’ survival, some companies have bolstered their range through strategic acquisitions such as Kimball International / Poppin.com, Herman Miller / Design Within Reach and Knoll / Fully.com.
Steelcase Identifies Division, Density And Geometry As Key Elements in Office Reconfiguration
Steelcase has designed their Munich Learning and Innovation Center with screens around and between open plan workstations to create a division between workers facing each other. Density has been reduced by increasing distances between desks and pulling apart seating in collaborative spaces, in order to meet social distancing guidelines. Geometry has been altered by positioning workstations at 90 degree angles to each other.
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(Image credit: Steelcase)
CBRE Publishes Insightful Forecast For The Future Of Office Furniture In The Workplace
CBRE, the largest commercial real estate services company in the world, has published an excellent study of measures required to combat exposure to Covid-19 in the workplace. The study includes detailed graphics explaining how furniture and layouts can be reconfigured in the short, medium and long term.
Uncertainty Amid Covid-19 Dampens Demand For Office Space Worldwide
According to property consultant, DeVono Cresa, demand for office space in London dropped by 30% in the first quarter, fueled by virus and Brexit fears. Global financial institutions and serviced office proprietors are leasing less space worldwide in the wake of the pandemic. Although some businesses are cutting costs in the short term by migrating to the serviced office business model, many firms are reconfiguring their existing furniture layout and adding dividers or screens to adhere to social distancing guidelines in the medium term. In the long term, a major redesign of the workplace will be necessary to adapt to a new reality and changing business practices.
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